AOH :: ISN-1109.HTM

Indian Air Force gets ready for cyber warfare

Indian Air Force gets ready for cyber warfare
Indian Air Force gets ready for cyber warfare 

July 04, 2005  

NEW DELHI:  Information warfare is an emerging area. It relates to 
computer virus attacks, precision attacks on command and control nodes 
and soft and hard skill capabilities to significantly degrade or 
paralyse the information structure of the adversary. 
"Although there is a chance of hackers doing some damage, they cannot 
affect equipment because they have stand-alone computerised systems 
integral to the weapon system and equipment. However, anything on a 
network or dependent on satellite-based functioning can be affected," 
say officials in the Indian Air Force (IAF). 

Exploitation of technologies by developed countries is bringing about 
profound changes in the operational concept of warfare. Use of 
satellites, high altitude aircraft, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), 
sensors and digital communications in high intensity conflicts have 
brought in the new paradigm of information warfare. Countries that can 
leverage cutting-edge technologies in the development of weapon 
systems will have the strength to leapfrog obstacles they may 
encounter during war. 

Presently, the IAF is in the process of acquiring technology for 
communications and computer networks. It plans to use a multi-sensor 
command and control constellation (MC2C) based around the use of 
radars, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), airborne warning and control 
systems (AWACS), and aerostats. 

"Of all the three forces, the Navy and Air Force take the cake when it 
comes to IT implementation", say officials in the Army. 

Agrees Air Commodore NK Chibber, secretary general, Pacific 
Telecommunication Council (PTC) India Chapter, "Though we have still 
not reached the stage being totally computerised, many of our air 
systems are fully automated thanks to usage of IT." To counter such 
attacks, many Indian agencies are working on IT-based defence systems. 
The Centre for Development of Advanced Computing's (C-DAC) Networking 
and Internet Software Group (NISG) at Pune is working on the 
development of core network security technologies, which include 
C-DAC's Virtual Private Network (C-VPN), a crypto package (C-Crypto) 
and prototypes of e-commerce applications. Besides, DRDO has been 
successful in integrating security mechanisms in the Army Radio 
Engineering Network (AREN) and Army Static Switch Communication 
Network (ASCON). 

Recently, a study team was formed at Air HQ which analysed various 
communication needs of Air Force and proposed a solution which is 
scalable, reliable and secure. The team interacted with user 
directorates and command HQs to assess their bandwidth requirements. 
Based on these interactions, the team proposed an architecture for IAF 
Wide Area Network (WAN) project which is scalable and highly reliable 
to meet both peace and wartime needs of IAF. 

While India's defence forces are increasingly using IT, the pace of 
IT-enablement definitely needs to be speeded up. And cooperation 
between the private sector and the defence sector is a must, 
especially when it comes to India=92s software sector.

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